Yesterday's quarterfinal matches between The Netherlands-Brazil and Uruguay-Ghana had to have been the most tense quarterfinal matches in recent history. 2 of the sentimental favorites were eliminated in dramatic fashion. Those footballing fans whose home nation does not have a strong team or a big footballing history, Brazil is their 2nd team while Ghana carried the hopes of a continent who wanted to see the first African WC champions.
The first match of yesterday's took place at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth as The Clockwork Oranje of Holland defeated Verde-Amarela of Brazil 2-1 in a match that had everything football has to offer. There were yellow cards, a red card, on the ball skill,a goal from a header, a goal from skillful passing and finishing, questionable calls from the referee, an own goal and all of those things created an unbelievable drama unique to football and the World Cup.
(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
The result was a surprise but not an upset. Those who watch and know about football, know that The Netherlands can beat any team and that Holland is a football talent factory, its been a matter of bad luck and unfortunate timing that the Dutch have not won a World Cup. Read how the Dutch took down Brazil here.
The 2nd match of the day was as dramatic as it gets in the World Cup. The Black Stars of Ghana, African football's last hope for glory in the 1st African World Cup battled Uruguay to 1-1 score after extra time but not without the most heart-breaking ending to an extra time period in World Cup history.
Uruguay forward Luis Suarez was red carded for intentionally knocking the ball out of the goal with his hand after a furious scramble in the box had the Jabulani headed for the back of the net. Asamoah Gyan, Ghana's top goal scorer who had scored 2 of his 3 tournament goals from the penalty spot stepped up. The PK was at the end of the 2nd extra time period and was the biggest PK in African football history.
Ghana's star striker had Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera beaten but his shot hit the crossbar and sailed into the stands. The game ends with Uruguay winning 5-3 on penalties and Ghana, Africa, and those that wanted to see history were completely heart broken.
The Cape Town-based newspaper Weekend Argus headline said "Africa was robbed" in its front page article. "That was the overwhelming feeling after Uruguay beat Ghana, Africa's last World Cup hope."
Musa Badjie, a fan in Gambia said “This is soccer, not handball, the right decision would have been to validate the Ghanaian goal and give a red card to the Uruguayan player who used his hands to push the ball back in the field of play.”
The Ghanian effort inspired an invitation to the home of Nelson Mandela where the Ghanians were consoled and praised by the man known as Madiba. The day after two painful eliminations proved that football especially at the World Cup can be cruel but its from that same pool of emotions that attracts people to football as "The Beautiful Game."